A new week and a new load of Vanguard coverage here on the Mantic Blog. You’ve in case you’ve been under a rock for the past few weeks, we’ve been going absolutely Vanguard crazy. We’ve had rules blogs, staff warbands and dioramas, all featured here on the Mantic Blog. However, we’re not finished yet. As we barrel towards the retail release later this month, we’ve still got plenty of exciting content up our sleeves. This week we’re giving you a little background about the first four full faction releases: Nightstalkers, Basileans, Northern Alliance and Abyssals.
Today we’ll start with the Nightstalkers.
The Nightstalkers were once a group of Elves, known as the Conclave of Heaven.
The Conclave attracted the attentions of a celestial being known as Oskan who taught them how to travel the paths between worlds. The Elves became obsessed with travelling along the ‘ways’ and eventually spent more and more time letting their minds drift across the cosmic ether.
However, when the Fenulian Mirror was smashed – ripping the Celestians in two – the souls of those Elves travelling along the ways became trapped. Now these once benevolent beings have been warped and twisted into the terrifying Nightstalkers. They feed on the nightmares of mortals and emotions such as fear, hatred and pride. The Nightstalkers take on many forms – often perceived by different races in different ways, depending upon their superstitions.
The shattered remains of the spirit and mind of an Elven Mage-queen, a Banshee is a hideous ghost that glitters with supernatural hoarfrost. It will screech its rage and bitterness across the battlefield in a terrible wail that can drive back the unwilling recipients with an almost physical force.
The Banshee is one of the Command options for the Nighstalkers. With her Wail ability, she’s able to force enemy units to take a Nerve test. If they fail, they’ll Fall Back – which is great for moving enemies off or away from objectives.
The Shade is made of Phantoms that have fused together when trying to consume one another and end their suffering. Shades are indeterminate forms that shift between fleeting glimpses of melted faces and a vapour of blood and flickering lights.
Another Command option for the Nightstalkers, the Shade has got the Cause Fear ability, which has the potential to Fatigue enemy units. Again, this is useful for slowing down the enemy.
Armour is of little use against the probing and invasive psychic attacks of this insidious and devious monstrosity. Victims fall to the ground screaming silently, their hands clasped to bleeding ears. Their comrades are powerless to help them… as they feel the same brain shattering horror too.
This Large Spellcaster is bound to cause some problems for your opponent. It’s able to use Power to cast long action spells as a short action, which means it has the option to move into position before shooting off a spell.
In dreams the zombie-like scarecrows are always right behind you, shuffling relentlessly and endlessly, no matter how fast you run. A sickly fixed smile spreads across their face as they raise their sickle, ready for the final blow.
Under estimate Scarecrows at your peril. Although they only roll 1D8 in combat, they have the Mob Assault ability, which means they gain a Crushing Strength bonus when attacking as a group. Suddenly those high armour models are going to run into trouble.
Ghostly, skeletal and cowardly creatures. Spectres stay close together and lurk in the freezing air, which eddies and swirls around them, lashing out with tendrils of white soul-sucking mist at the choicest and most vulnerable targets.
The Spectres (painted miniature photography coming soon) are your go-to ranged Grunts for the Nightstalkers. They’re hitting on 5+ and get 2D8s for ranged attacks.
Armed with a bewildering array of wicked looking knives, limbs, claws and scythes, Reapers stalk the dreams of those who abhor wanton violence, torture or pain, hell-bent on delivering their worst fears.
As you might expect from this spiky chap, they’re pretty tasty in combat. The Reaper is a Warrior with 3D8 in melee and Crushing Strength (1).
There’s also a Command version of the Reaper called the Reaper Souldrinker. Scary stuff!
These are phantasms that appear as cloaked, floating bodies. Their partially hooded heads reveal glimpses of the screaming and bloody skulls of those souls permanently trapped between worlds.
Able to fly around the battlefield, the Phantom is a good, mobile Warrior for the Nightstalkers. It also has Vicious so it can re-roll misses.
Butchers are uncompromising, unsubtle and brutally efficient killers. To many they appear as a horrific hybrid of ogre, golem and squid, with massive cleavers in their many hands covered in gore.
Another Large option for the Nightstalkers – so you’ll have to choose between this and the Mind Screech – the Butcher has Crushing Strength (2) and hits with 4D8. You don’t want to mess with the Butcher.
However, there is a cheeky way to get two Large models in your Nightstalker warband. The starter set comes with an alternate Butcher Fleshripper command card. This allows you to run the Butcher as a Large leader, so you can still include another Large model in your warband.
Huge, black, twin-headed canines with gnashing jaws and fur matted with vile ectoplasm, the Shadowhounds prey on the fears of their foes. They hunt in packs and even if you do manage to escape these foul beasts, their howls will haunt your dreams until the end of days.
The Shadowhound is a support unit for the Nightstalkers. Its main benefit is speed 7, so it’s extremely agile. It also has Bloodlust, which means it gets a bonus for attacking wounded enemies. Take a pot shot with your Spectres, then send in the Shadowhound to finish the job.
These freakish and malformed beings were once a delegation of dwarfen Stone Priests that were on a diplomatic and academic exchange with the elven magic schools when catastrophe struck. Now only bearing a vague semblance to the esteemed and intelligent sorcerers they used to be, their warped and broken bodies channel the bitter winds of the shadow worlds.
The Horror is a good Support unit for the Nighstalkers, which can boost its allies, thanks to the Bane Chant rule. This grants Vicious to any friendly Nightstalker models within 6″.
Well, hope you enjoyed this round-up for the Nighstalkers. If this group of ethereal horrors has caught your eye, then make sure you pick up the starter set and faction booster, which are both on pre-order now.